McBOOKIE.COM| Premiership frontrunners Hurlford United grasped all three points from a second-half caning at the hands of Pollok on Saturday to chalk up an 11th league win from 11 outings and show they have the mark of champions.

Boss Darren Henderson will doubtless refute the suggestion but the broad smile across his face as he strode off the Newlandsfield pitch at the final whistle told its own story about progress having been made . . . as indeed did his post-match summations.

"This is one of the toughest away venues in the Junior calendar and I cannot remember the last time we came away with the points from here so I have to be pleased with a 1-0 win.

“Look, we’ve had no option other than to dour it out to get the better of a very good Pollok side and, yes, its arguable the rub of the green has been in our favour but that’s what is needed at places like this.

“Thankfully our back four has been rock solid because we’ve needed them to defend well and put their bodies in to block all manner of things when Pollok got up a head of steam and got at us in the closing stages.

“Earlier on my players were the more dominant but missed chances along with some fine saves from their goalkeeper Jordan Longmuir kept the scoresheet blank at half-time.

"But second half Pollok have grabbed the initiative and forced us deep without seriously troubling us other than Shaun Fraser’s header.”

Hendo was referring to a 68th-minute Paul Gallagher cross that was met by Lok team-mate Fraser acrobatically twisting in mid-air to direct a header beyond the reach of visiting keeper Ally Brown – but also agonisingly wide of the far upright.

The near thing was still being talked about on the terraces when this fiercely contested game was decided at the other end in somewhat horror circumstances for Pollok No 1 Longmuir, who appeared to fumble a Paul McKenzie effort from 22 yards as it slipped through his hands and into the net.

The keeper later redeemed himself with a fine stop to block a Ryan Caddis netbound shot while counterpart Brown excelled at the other end to block a fiercely struck Gary McCann shot and was fortunate when a Gallagher header was powered straight at him as the game petered out.

It should be said Pollok’s defiant performance showed their players had put the shock news of erstwhile gaffer Tony McInally’s departure behind them and their efforts were appreciated by supporters who gathered to applaud them into the dressing rooms – and by newly appointed manager Murdie McKinnon.

“The last 48 hours have been a total whirlwind for both myself and the guys who I felt gave everything out on that pitch today," McKinnon said.

“Coming here today my focus was on this game being, business as usual, and I’m so disappointed not to take something from a 90 minutes between two very evenly matched sides, though I do admit Hurlford imposed their game plan on us better than we did on them first half and you could see that in Jordan being the busier of the two goalkeepers.

“I then asked the players at the interval to impose our own style of play by being brave to get on the ball to make passes and get at Hurlford in the wide areas and I couldn’t fault their efforts.

“They have scored totally against the run of play and have then defended for all their worth to keep us at bay and see the game out.”

Pollok’s new man at the helm must now press on with preparations for next weekend’s Macron Scottish Junior Cup head to head against Cumnock and his first task will be unearthing a new backroom team after it was announced that popular coaches Stewart Ralston and Brian Whelan had both tendered their resignations.

Meanwhile, Largs Thistle were also left with the bitter taste of defeat in their mouths after suffering a resounding 3-0 beating away to second-place Clydebank, for whom ex-Pollok striker Nikky Little netted a brace either side of a Cammy McLair goal.

Cumnock made the most of these lapses by moving up to go a point clear in third spot thanks to scores from Stevie Degnan , Scott Anson(pen) Paul Burns(2) and Robert Patterson bringing an emphatic 5-1 victory over Petershill whose counter netted by midfielder Jamie Hamilton at 1-1 did nothing other than put a better reflection on the scoreline.

The Peasy are now down in second bottom place after being leapfrogged by previous bottom markers Irvine Meadow who had Aaron Connolly and Ben Carson on the mark in a 2-0 triumph over Kilbirnie Ladeside whose manager Budgie McGhie resigned in the aftermath of his side’s fourth defeat in five matches.

In other games, Rob Roy and Renfrew played out a 0-0 stalemate at Guys Meadow while Troon’s former Hearts striker Christain Nade turned the clock back in bagging a hat-rick in a 4-2 triumph away to Cambuslang Rangers.

The top flight’s highest scoring contest was at Abbey Park where Kilwinning Rangers came from 3-1 behind to take the spoils with a thrilling 4-3 win over Glenafton who had looked a good bet to go on and take the spoils after Chris Dallas and Mick McCann goals forged an early 2-0 lead.

An own goal from former Buffs player Finlay Frye provided the home team with a lifeline that appeared to be taken from their grasp by another Dallas score however Kilwinning manager Chris Strain’s introduction of substitute Ryan Nisbet turned the game on its head as he struck twice either side of a rare Sam McLoskey goal to seal a wonderful comeback victory for the home side.